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New strength criteria for rocks under polyaxial compression

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Rock mechanics abounds with a great number of strength criteria, among which the Hoek–Brown (HB) criterion is one of the most commonly used. However, it takes no account of the influence of the intermediate principal stress and therefore cannot be used in conditions where the intermediate principal stress does influence the rock strength. In this paper, a comment on the HB criterion and existing enhanced Hoek–Brown (EHB) criteria is presented. Then, two general methods to derive new criteria for rocks under polyaxial compression according to the HB criterion are proposed by which existing EHB criteria can be obtained. and three new criteria are introduced using the second method. Comparisons including smoothness and convexity of the failure envelope surface between proposed criteria and existing ones are made. The validities of the new criteria are checked according to polyaxial tests for eight different rock types from published literature and show good agreement with the test data.

Keywords: Hoek–Brown; contrainte hydrostatique; deviatoric plane; hydrostatic stress; meridian plane; plan déviatorique; plan médian

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Key Laboratory for Bridge and Tunnel of Shaanxi Province, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710064, China. 2: School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1284, USA.

Publication date: 2011-08-29

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  • Published since 1963, this monthly journal features articles, notes, and discussions related to new developments in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, and applied sciences. The topics of papers written by researchers, theoreticians, and engineers/scientists active in industry include soil and rock mechanics, material properties and fundamental behaviour, site characterization, foundations, excavations, tunnels, dams and embankments, slopes, landslides, geological and rock engineering, ground improvement, hydrogeology and contaminant hydrogeology, geochemistry, waste management, geosynthetics, offshore engineering, ice, frozen ground and northern engineering, risk and reliability applications, and physical and numerical modelling. Papers on actual case records from practice are encouraged and frequently featured.
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